Can food help protect you from the sun?

I’m hoping that by writing a post about sun protection, it might actually encourage the sun to put in an appearance this summer.

Can you help protect your skin from within? Research has shown that foods containing certain antioxidant compounds can help your skin defend itself from UV damage from sunburn.

The best foods to eat to help prevent sun damage are:

  • Tomatoes – the natural antioxidant pigment lycopene gives the red colour to ripe red tomatoes. The best place to find it is in tomato paste or cook them to release the lycopene.
  • Carotenoid-rich foods such as red, yellow and orange peppers and carrots reduce sunburn intensity
  • Watermelon
  • Green tea – offers natural UV protection as it helps protect skin cells from exposure to UVA and UVB rays
  • Blue and purple berries – blueberries, blackcurrants, acai, cranberries, blackberries and elderberries are rich in the potent purple pigments known as anthocyanins
  • Leafy greens, like dark green lettuce, spinach, kale, and Swiss chard, are top sources of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin

This doesn’t mean that you can stop taking precautions against sunburn and skin cancer such as using sun cream with an appropriate sun protection factor (SPF) and wearing a wide-brimmed hat. It’s good to know that simply by eating these foods you can give your skin additional protection plus these foods are healthy, tasty and won’t break the bank.

(Image credit: Corey Burger)


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